In today's digital economy, small businesses face an increasing number of cyber threats that can compromise sensitive data, disrupt operations, and damage their reputation. Network security and endpoint protection play crucial roles in defending against these threats. As more devices (endpoints) connect to your business's enterprise computer network, potential cybersecurity threats also increase.
Protecting your network and data from cyber-attacks on a multitude of fronts is critical for uninterrupted business operations. In this factsheet, we'll go over the basics of network and endpoint security and protection, its distinction from antivirus software, how it functions, deployment on a network - particularly to safeguard multiple remote devices, and highlight some of the best platforms available so you can see how it will benefit your small business and get a better understanding of what you can deploy to strengthen your business from cyber-attacks.
Video presentation: Endpoint protection
Understanding endpoint protection
Endpoint protection refers to a comprehensive security solution designed to protect individual devices, or endpoints, such as laptops, desktops, servers, and mobile devices, from a wide range of cyber threats. It combines multiple security features like antivirus, anti-malware, firewall, intrusion detection, data loss prevention, and more into a single integrated solution. Unlike traditional antivirus software, endpoint protection offers a holistic approach to security, defending against evolving threats beyond malware.
Endpoint Protection vs. Antivirus Software
While antivirus software primarily focuses on identifying and eliminating known malware threats, endpoint protection takes a more proactive and multifaceted approach. Endpoint protection not only includes antivirus capabilities but also encompasses additional security features to detect and prevent emerging threats, zero-day exploits, advanced malware, ransomware, and insider attacks. It provides a more robust defence by monitoring and securing all endpoints within a network, rather than just individual devices.
Functioning of Endpoint Protection:
Endpoint protection works by employing a combination of signature-based and behaviour-based detection techniques. Signature-based detection relies on a database of known malware signatures to identify and block malicious files. Behaviour-based detection analyzes the behaviour of applications and processes in real-time, looking for suspicious activities and anomalies that indicate potential threats. Additionally, endpoint protection may utilise machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence to improve threat detection accuracy.
Deploying Endpoint Protection on a Network
To protect multiple remote devices in a network, small businesses can implement the following strategies for deploying endpoint protection:
- Centralised Management: Choose an endpoint protection platform that offers centralised management capabilities. This enables administrators to monitor, configure, and update security policies across all devices from a single console.
- Remote Deployment: Use remote deployment tools to install endpoint protection software on remote devices without requiring physical access. These tools simplify the deployment process and ensure consistent protection across all devices.
- Cloud-based Solutions: Consider using cloud-based endpoint protection solutions. These solutions offer easy scalability, automatic updates, and real-time threat intelligence, making them well-suited for remote device protection.
What is endpoint security?
Endpoint security solutions are cybersecurity software that secures devices such as servers, desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones connected to a larger network. These applications extend network and device defences beyond traditional antivirus software and include device management, data leak protection (DLP), and threat detection and investigation.
Endpoint security applications use an endpoint protection platform (EPP), which is installed on endpoints, to protect against malware and other intrusions. An EPP may be combined with an endpoint detection and response (EDR) that focuses on monitoring, threat detection, and responses. Endpoint security can use the client-server model for the internal protection of a company's enterprise network or be web-based software-as-a-service (SaaS).
Best platforms for small businesses
- Symantec Endpoint Security: Symantec, now part of Broadcom, provides a solution with advanced threat prevention, detection, and response capabilities, including endpoint protection, deception, and hardening technologies that defend against ransomware, zero-day attacks, and file-less threats.
- McAfee Endpoint Security: McAfee offers a centralised platform for comprehensive endpoint protection with threat prevention, firewall, web control, and application containment. It provides an integrated analysis of threats, making it a suitable choice for businesses of various sizes.
- Trend Micro Apex One: Apex One is an all-in-one solution that combines advanced threats, malware, and ransomware protection with endpoint detection and response (EDR) and automated threat resolution. It simplifies endpoint management and enables better visibility into endpoint data.
- Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP): Microsoft Defender ATP is an enterprise-level solution that provides a host of endpoint protection and EDR capabilities, integrating with Microsoft’s other security solutions like Azure Sentinel, making it an ideal choice for organisations using Microsoft infrastructure.
- Cisco AMP for Endpoints: Cisco’s Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) for Endpoints provides endpoint protection through continuous monitoring and analysis of files, telemetry data, and process execution. It leverages cloud-based threat intelligence and machine learning to provide advanced security.
- Check Point SandBlast Agent: Check Point offers the SandBlast Agent, an advanced endpoint protection and comprehensive security solution with threat emulation, threat extraction, and zero-day threat prevention, allowing quick detection and remediation.
- CrowdStrike Falcon: CrowdStrike Falcon is a cloud-native endpoint security platform that combines next-gen antivirus, EDR, and managed threat hunting. Its real-time threat intelligence, detection, and response capabilities make it a popular choice among large enterprises.
- Carbon Black Defense: Carbon Black Defense, now a part of VMware, is a cloud-native endpoint protection platform that offers advanced protection and EDR capabilities. It leverages behaviour-based analytics and machine learning to provide comprehensive security.
- Sophos Intercept X: Sophos offers an endpoint security solution that combines artificial intelligence and EDR to stop known and unknown threats, ransomware, exploits, and malware. It also provides a managed threat response service for expert-led incident response and threat hunting.
- Palo Alto Networks Cortex XD: Cortex XDR is an endpoint security solution with advanced protection, detection, and response capabilities. It combines AI-driven analytics and automation with endpoint, network, and cloud data to stop threats and prevent breaches.
- Kaspersky Endpoint Security: Kaspersky’s solution provides comprehensive endpoint protection, including behavioural, machine learning, and exploit prevention, as well as EDR capabilities. It is designed to be scalable and adaptable, catering to small, medium, and large businesses.
- Bitdefender GravityZone: Bitdefender offers an endpoint protection solution that includes machine learning, exploit defense, and anti-ransomware, web filtering, and patch management. It provides a single-console, an easy-to-use management platform ideal for organisations of all sizes.
These are some of the leading providers of endpoint security solutions. Many of these solutions offer multiple layers of protection, from traditional antivirus to advanced threat protection and endpoint detection and response, providing small business with the necessary tools to secure their endpoints effectively.
Small businesses face increasingly sophisticated cyber threats from a range of global players. This means network security and endpoint protection are essential components of a comprehensive security strategy. Endpoint protection offers a more proactive and holistic approach to security than traditional antivirus software, providing small businesses with the necessary defense against a wide range of threats. By deploying endpoint protection on a network, particularly for remote devices, small businesses can protect their sensitive data, ensure operational continuity, and safeguard their reputation. Choosing reputable platforms that offer centralised management, remote deployment capabilities, and cloud-based solutions further strengthens the security infrastructure, helping small businesses stay one step ahead of cyber threats.